In Conversation with The Winter Brave

Moving Past Emotion

“Songwriting in general is a very cathartic experience for me. Writing lyrics especially helps in moving past emotions or personal problems.”
– Jake Scarpino of The Winter Brave

The Winter Brave is an alternative rock duo based in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The world sat up and took notice in 2013 when Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters dropped their name during “Ask Me Anything” on The new single, “As You Once Were,” from their soon-to-be-released EP, The Hand You Never Seem to Lend, is a spirited rock anthem with deliciously retro musical elements.

Recently duo members Sam and Jake took the time to answer Wanda Waterman’s questions about childhood influences, their songwriting process, and the new EP.

Which elements in your childhood and early years pointed you toward music? Toward rock and blues in particular?
Our parents, even though they’re not musicians themselves, always had music playing on the stereo all day while we were growing up. Our uncle played in bands and got us our first guitar and bass when we were about 10. After an initial love affair with The Beatles we both got into lots of 90’s alternative, namely Nirvana, Oasis, and Third Eye Blind. Growing up in the 90’s probably had a lot to do with getting us interested in rock.

How are you preparing musically for the new EP?
Since we’ve moved down to a duo, rehearsals have become slightly barer in the sense that we can’t get exactly the sound that we want with just the two of us. We’ve reallocated some rehearsal time into demoing because It’s easier to flesh out something when we’re not restricted to only two instruments at a time. Most of the new songs have gone through two or three demos to get to where they are now.

Who writes the songs? And how is it gone about?
We have the wonderful privilege of having two songwriters in our duo. Writing can go a couple of different ways, but in general It’s a very collaborative process. Sometimes one of us will write all the parts of a song and the other will change up the feel to bring it somewhere completely different. Other times one of us will come up with a part and show it to the other, who’ll write the next part. We both enjoy being able to work with one another and feel that our songs benefit from being made collaboratively.

What was your most beneficial educational experience? What or who in your training had the most?and best?influence on you, as musicians, composers, and human beings?
We both shared a vocal coach who was absolutely a huge influence on us as musicians. The best thing she did was to destroy any ego or resistance to criticism. As a musician, you need someone to tell it as it is and light a fire under you. She was great at keeping our asses in line and keeping us focused.

(to be continued)

Wanda also penned the poems for the artist book They Tell My Tale to Children Now to Help Them to be Good, a collection of meditations on fairy tales, illustrated by artist Susan Malmstrom.

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